Fort Walton Beach Estate Planning Attorney
Advocacy on Estate and Probate Law Matters
At Dowd Law Firm, our estate planning lawyer in Fort Walton helps clients throughout the Florida Panhandle region plan for the future and settle the affairs of loved ones who have passed away. If you are taking your first steps into estate planning, need to update an outdated or out-of-state plan, or need help administering a loved one's estate, we look forward to assisting you with any of your concerns in estate and probate law.
By carefully analyzing your situation, circumstances, and wishes, we can guide and assist you to develop a comprehensive plan and help you determine exactly what is needed. We can also help you to prepare all documents and ensure that they are properly signed, witnessed and notarized.
Our estate services include, but are not limited to:
- Wills and trusts: Your will is the cornerstone of your estate plan and should be carefully drafted to achieve your goals. Depending on your personal circumstances, we may recommend drafting a revocable or irrevocable trust agreement in addition to your will.
- Asset protection: If you are concerned about protecting your assets from personal and/or business creditors, our attorney can evaluate your circumstances and advise you on the use of estate planning and entity formation strategies to achieve your objectives.
- Incapacity planning: Our attorney drafts living wills and powers of attorney to address the needs of clients who are concerned about what will happen if they become incapable of caring for themselves. We also assist clients with the creation of guardianships.
- Elder care planning: If you are concerned about what will happen to your assets in the event you need to go into a nursing home or receive in-home nursing care, we can help you plan ahead to take full advantage of Medicaid and other government benefits.
- Estate administration: Our experienced probate lawyer frequently assists personal representatives (executors) with the administration of estates in probate court. We also advise trustees on the administration of trusts and represent parties in estate litigation.
Estate Planning in Florida
Although estate planning and making decisions and implementing plans regarding what happens after death is important, most people fail to adequately plan for the rest of their lives. Traditional estate planning only affects after-death decisions.
Our Fort Walton estate planning attorney helps clients take a holistic approach to account for what happens during life as well as protecting the financial and personal interests of loved ones after death. Having a Fort Walton estate planning attorney help you create your will or trust is especially necessary if you have complex financial or family situations, such as owning a business or have been divorced.
Is It Better to Have a Will or a Trust in Florida?
Both wills and trusts are effective estate planning methods that serve different purposes. You may also create both a will and trust together to form a complete estate plan. Wills and trusts each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
For example, the administration of a will must be overseen by the court and becomes a public record. Trusts, on the other hand, remain private and do not need to be overseen by the court. An experienced estate planning and probate attorney can help you decide whether to create a will or a trust, or help you set up both.